The debate between books and e-books has been going on for quite some time now. I have been an avid reader since I was young and honestly, I do not side with either. While the feel of pages is soothing to my hands, I equally appreciate the convenience of Kindle devices.
I question the comparison itself. Reading is an action and there are multiple ways to do it. It is all about what one chooses. Both the options have their pros and cons but they necessarily do not need to be dragged into a conflict. They can coexist. However, I have heard a lot of arguments as to why books will always give a superior experience than virtual reads and I will now try to figure out from where it arises.
Loyalty to tradition, sometimes, makes us think that change is an enemy. Books are the tangible symbol of knowledge and it is a perception that they are irreplaceable. Kindles or any sort of virtual reading material lacks the smell and feel of pages. Holding a book, gripping it tight- these are the sensations that you miss out on a Kindle. Books also serve as memories. For any person who has spent years collecting books, reading them lovingly and dusting them, a device which can hold around 10,000 books may seem strange and foreign. There is absolutely no compulsion for anyone to renounce books at all. However, what is objectionable is when these people try to point out that people who read virtually are disloyal to the literary world. There can be two reasons for that- 1. It arises purely from an irrational, emotional connect. 2. They automatically assume that all virtual books are pirated.
I am very sure that if books and Kindles came alive, the conversation would be nothing like this.
Loving literature comprises loving the component itself more than the medium. And Kindle devices are convenient, portable and a delight to read in- I have been using one since I was 7 years old and I have never been disappointed. The vast availability of books ( which by the way has to be bought and is completely legitimate) makes reading a pleasure. They solve the existential problem of the 21st century that is limited space. They are really good substitutes for heavy books and save quite a lot of backache. E-books are nature friendly and reader-friendly, in equal parts. There are different versions of the device available to suit people’s needs.
However I still maintain that none is superior over the other. All I request is that being a part of a bigger community of book lovers, one should not try to downplay each others’ choices. With the advent of newer modes of entertainment the literary world is receding into a backseat. We, as a community, need to restore it and that definitely will not be possible if we fight against each other.